News

New Rent Relief Program Announced

January 6, 2021, 4:00 PM HST
* Updated January 6, 4:03 PM
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Rent. PC: Pixabay

Catholic Charities Hawai‘i and the State of Hawai‘i announced Wednesday the launch of a new rent relief program that will begin accepting applications next week.

The Rent Assistance and Mediation Program (RAMP) will provide assistance for Hawai‘i renters who have experienced a reduction in income because of unemployment or a reduction in work hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of eviction.

The $6 million program, administered by Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, intends to help tenants avoid eviction by providing rental payments for unpaid rent and mediation services. Rental payments will be considered from Jan. 1, 2021, with a statewide cap of $1,500 per household per month. A maximum of up to two months total of past due and ongoing assistance can be provided.

The program is funded by a portion of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection settlement monies from Honda Motor Co.

“In dealing with the continual economic fallout from COVID-19, this emergency rental assistance program is meant to keep tenants in their homes and safely sheltered, while ensuring landlords are properly compensated,” said Catholic Charities Hawai’i CEO and president Rob Van Tassell. “With the conclusion of the state’s Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program (RRHAP), this available funding will be a bridge to other potential rent relief programs involving COVID 19-related federal funding.”

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There will be three ways to apply for the program: applying online, downloading an electronic form from the website, or a requested mailed application (see instructions listed below).

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Full-time Hawai‘i residents with a valid and current lease agreement of six months or longer for their primary residence in Hawai‘i must demonstrate a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have a gross household annual income that does not exceed 100% of the HUD Area Median Income for 2020.

Note that the available funds are estimated to cover approximately 2,000 applications and the demand is expected to be great enough to reach capacity within a week.

“Please take the time to carefully fill out the forms and provide the correct information required,” Van Tassell said. “Doing so will shorten the time to verify and process your applications. Also, please let your landlord know that you are applying for rental assistance and have their contact information readily available, especially if you are applying online: including his or her name, mailing address, email address, phone number.”

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Applicants who have already received funding from the State of Hawai‘i’s recent Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program (RRHAP) will have to re-apply for RAMP funding. Since this is a different program funding source from the state’s RRHAP, applications from that program will not carry over.

Eligibility

Full-time Hawai‘i residents with a valid and current lease agreement of six months or longer for their primary residence in Hawaii must demonstrate a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have a gross household annual income that does not exceed 100% of the HUD Area Median Income for 2020.

Maximum Assistance per Applicant

Monthly 2021 rent payments of up to $1,500 or mediation services of up to $500 per household, statewide, will be made directly to the landlord or mediation agency. Rent payments can be made in lump sum amounts for a maximum of two months. Payment for mediation services will be up to $500 per household. This program cannot pay for rent that has been paid by a tenant or another entity.

How to Apply

To Request an Application Form

  • Requests for an application can be mailed, faxed, and emailed upon request between Jan. 6, 2021— Jan. 13, 2021.
  • Application requests outside of this timeframe will not be considered
  • Call/mail/fax your local Catholic Charities Hawaii office or email [email protected], to request an application
  • You may also visit the website directly at www.catholiccharitieshawaii.org to download an electronic copy or wait for the Online Application link to activate on Jan. 11, 2021 until Jan. 13, 2021 between 8 a.m.—5 p.m.

To submit your completed application

Applications will only be accepted within the timeframe below. Note that the timeframe for an online application versus a hard copy or electronic version are different. Any applications outside of the timeframes posted below will not be considered and discarded.

  • Online Application will be open between Jan. 11, 2021—Jan. 13, 2021 between 8 a.m.—5 p.m.
  • Please do not start your online application at 4:30 p.m. as it may time out
  • If applying online, please ensure you have good internet and apply through a desktop computer or laptop as mobile devices may time out
  • Standard mail in applications, fax applications, or email applications, must be post marked or sent between Jan. 11, 2021—Jan. 18, 2021
  • If you choose to mail in your application, mail to: 1822 Keeaumoku St., Honolulu, HI. 96822. Keep in mind that there have been significant mail delays this year. To fax an application, please fax to: 808-527-4439

Application Tips

Do not send in any other documents with this initial application. CCH or a partner agency will review your application and contact you if you meet the program qualifications. At that time, they will request the needed documentation from you.

Important – When completing the application

  • Let your landlord know that you are applying for rental assistance and have their contact information readily available, especially if you are applying online: Name, mailing address, email address, phone number.
  • Ensure that you double check your email before submitting (@ symbol is present, no spaces, spelling, etc.) as this will be the main mode of notification and communication
  • Actively check and monitor the email address you have provided (especially your spam/junk folder) and actively check your voicemail
  • Ensure that the voicemail on the phone number you list is set up and not full.

Application processing

  • Funds are estimated to cover approximately 2,000 applications and demands are estimated to reach capacity in a week
  • Applications will be processed on a priority basis with a preference to:
  • Household income is at 50% AMI or below
  • Applications will be available on the Catholic Charities Hawaii website at: https://www.catholiccharitieshawaii.org

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